Let me start by answering the two questions that the title of this blog brings to my mind. What is National Beading Week 2017? What on earth is a beadalong? When I’ve done that, I’m going to tell you all about my plans for 2017. They’re really exciting and hopefully you spotted the magic word in there… They are also completely free! So, read on to find out more…or if you’re reading this after 6th August 2017, join my mailing list, so you are first to hear about next year’s plans!
What is National Beading Week 2017?
National Beading Week 2017 takes place from 29th July to 6th August. It is the third annual event of this kind. The past two years have been so much fun. Loads of bead shops and designers get involved. They will be bringing you beading events and special offers throughout the week. So, it’s a great excuse to indulge in a spot of beading, basically!
National Beading Week was initially set up and organised by the Beadworker’s Guild here in the UK. They wanted to raise the profile of beading and celebrate beadwork. Now, you all know how international the beading community is. So, it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, you can still take part.
The Beadworker’s Guild still do a great job promoting and co-ordinating events. So, if you want to find out about everything that is happening, check out their website.
What is a beadalong?
Now I come to answer that question, I’m not sure if anyone has come up with a definition of a beadalong. So, I’m going to tell you what it means to me.
A beadalong is a chance for you to become part of a group of people all working on the same beading project. So, you get the benefits of community, shared experience and beading fun.
Why I decided to do a beadalong
In the past two years’ I’ve created a free pattern (Letter Beads in 2015) and held a competition (2016). So for National Beading Week 2017 I wanted to do something a bit different.
I was thinking about why we have NBW. As I said, it’s meant to celebrate and promote beading. So, what does that mean?
For me, if you are going to promote beading, you want to try and get a few new people to try it. The celebrating beading part is about the people who are already beaders. So, maybe it gives them a chance to learn a new skill or simply to show off their work.
Back in December last year, we had great fun on here with my Advent challenge. Loads of beaders got involved, checking the challenges for each day and trying to complete as many as they could. Some were kind enough to write and tell me how much they had enjoyed the event. I know I loved it as it was a way to connect and get to know some more of the people who use my website.
So, these two thoughts came together. I wanted to do another project that would bring out that community, fun spirit. Plus, I wanted to encourage people to try beading for the first time or try a new skill, or just find an excuse to bead. So, that is why I decided to do the beadalong.
How will the beadalong work?
Basically, I have designed a brand new bead-weaving project specially for this event. I am also going to use an existing French beading project.
However, the point of a beadalong is that we all participate together. So, I’m not just going to write out a tutorial on here. Oh no! I have split the instructions up, so you will get a new part of the project each day. I’ve put a lot of thought into how to divide this. So, my aim is to give you just enough to take up a few minutes each day. It won’t be a big time commitment, but it will be fun.
Alongside that, every day I’ll be running a special offer or a little competition, just as I’ve done in the past.
I actually have three projects in total. One is the French beading. I will keep this under wraps for the moment… Although you’re welcome to guess which project I’m using. (I’ve scattered a few photos in here to tantalise you and one of them is the project!). Just leave a comment at the end!
I can tell you that this project is in two parts. So, one part is super simple and a brilliant introduction to French beading. If you’ve never tried this craft before, then it’s your chance to give it a go. The second part is a little trickier and I hope that existing French beaders will enjoy beading along with that.
The second project is my brand new design to celebrate National Beading Week 2017. My website is ‘Bead Flowers’, summer is all about flowers. So, I have a floral themed bead-weaving idea. Now, you can certainly try this if you are a complete beginner. But I had in mind something for those of you who already enjoy beading. This can be turned into jewellery. Alternatively, you might prefer to use it as something more abstract.
The third project is a super-simple beaded rope. You’ll see, this combines well with project number two. So experienced beaders can enjoy this. However, I am putting it out there as a way to get some people to try beading for the first time. It makes a lovely necklace or bracelet all on its own… And I will reveal the exact design in one of my upcoming National Beading Week blog posts. So, stay tuned!
What Experience do I need?
My idea was to try something for all levels. Ok, so this may be ambitious – you can’t please all of the people all of the time, and all that! But I really wanted to give existing beaders an excuse to bead every day for a week and celebrate their beading. So, that’s why I’ve made it in bite-size chunks: no matter how busy you are, you can find a few minutes in each day to relax and bead.
I also wanted to try and encourage some new people to fall in love with beading. So, if you’ve been admiring beadwork online or in a friend’s collection, this is a chance to give it a try. If you don’t like it, never mind, but at least you’ll know! Similarly, if you know someone who you think would enjoy beading, let them know about this event.
How do I join in?
That is also really simple. You just need to follow this blog. During National Beading Week 2017. I will add a new blog post every day with the instructions for that day.
I said this was also about community. So, if you have any questions about the instructions, you can ask me ‘live’ in the comments on each blog. That’s about as close as I can get to giving you personal tuition! Also, if you want to show your progress, leave a comment so we can all enjoy admiring your work.
Now, I know, it’s a long time between now and the end of July (although it will fly). During that time, a million other things will have distracted you. So, you’re sitting here now thinking, ‘that sounds like fun, I want to do it.’ But how are you going to remember to tune in when National Beading Week 2017 comes around?
I’ve got you covered there as well. You can fill in your email address in the form in the right-hand menu (or keep scrolling down to find the subscriber form if you’re reading this on mobile). That means you’ll get my new blog posts delivered straight to your inbox. So, not only will you get the beadalong, but you’ll also get some other fun stuff from me! If you change your mind, or find me boring, you can unsubscribe at any time!
You can also join my mailing list. I will be sending out updates and reminders in my newsletters. So, you won’t miss out on a thing! Plus, the mailing list members get some special offers and discounts…
What happens next?
Now that I’ve announced my plans, you need to keep watching out for more news. Before National Beading Week 2017 begins, I will be telling you more about the projects.
So, I will help you to get prepared with the materials you need (and I’ve tried to keep costs right down – you may even have these in your stash already!). I will also be sharing some special tips and other helpful information. So, when you come to start beading, you will have everything to hand and have the confidence to dive in.
So, welcome to the National Beading Week 2017 fun! Please share this with your beading friends so we can get as many people involved as possible… Maybe I should make a bid to get a world record for ‘biggest beadalong’…